Beetlejuice Film Review
Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Michael McDowell, Larry Wilson and Warren Skaaren
Starring Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davies
A young couple who die in a car accident find themselves back in their house, but the house has been bought by a family from the city who are intent on putting their own stamp on the place. Determined to oust the new residents, the deceased couple look to a Bio-Exorcist called Betelgeuse, who says he can help them rid the house of the living.
Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davies) are a young couple living in their dream home in a sleepy town in a quiet corner of the USA. On a trip to pick up some provisions from the town, they swerve to avoid a dog on a bridge and end up crashing the car and falling in to the water. The next thing they know, they are back in the house, but something isn't right. A book on the coffee table, The Handbook For The Recently Deceased, confirms to them that they are dead.
Their first attempt to scare the new family away doesn't go well, they perform all manner of grusome acts, but it seems that they have a lot to learn about being a ghost, as none of their attempts work at all. It is during a look through their Handbook, that they discover a flyer for Betelgeuse, an entity who claims he can rid houses of the living. To resurrect Betelgeuse, they must say his name 3 times, but they are warned off from calling on him by their case worker.
It turns out that the daughter of the family Deetz, is able to see Adam and Barbara and isn't scared of them. She tries to tell her parents that the house is haunted but they ignore her and carry on regardless.
It is now that they make the decision to call on Betegeuse and use his talents to rid the house the unwanted, alive people!
Beetlejuice represents Tim Burton's debut on the big screen after a raft of TV work. The film mirrors all of the elements that we now see in a Burton film. Exagerated characters and set pieces adorn the film and make every scene larger than life. The film also saw early big screen performances from Alec Baldwin, Geena Davies, and Winona Ryder, who all deliver fantastic performances in their relative roles. But it is Keaton who is cast as the uncontrolable Bio-Exorcist, Betelgeuse. His portayal of the ridiculously over the top character is akin to the performance Heath Ledger gae as the unforgettable Joker. His mannerisms and brilliantly dark take on Burton's humour are first class. He gives us a hugely dark comedic individual who is also someone who you wouldn't want to leave alone with your children.
As with all of his films Burton gives us the larger than life and the film has some really stand out moments, and this film will always be remembered for the Banana Boat Song!
Banana Boat Song
Remember this is 1988 so the Special Effects that are used in the film are a little 'rubbery' in places, but that can be totally overlooked in the larger scheme of the film and what it delivers in story and grandeur.
A wonderful introduction to the wacky world of Tim Burton's mind and a fore runner of all that has come since and probably still to come. Great performances from Baldwin and Davies and a young Ryder only add to the manically brilliant Keaton, all go to create a dark comedy that everyone should see at least once!